Nielsen finds 42% of players prefer older unit

More than 68 million people played video games on a console last month, spending much of it on Sony Corp.’s older PlayStation 2, according to Nielsen research.

Seven years after its launch, Sony’s PS2 was still the most-played console, accounting for 42 percent of video game use during the month. Microsoft’s original Xbox took second place with 17 percent, followed by the Xbox 360 with 8 percent.

The numbers suggest that older machines remain popular despite last November’s high-profile debut of Nintendo Co.’s Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3, which had 4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Nintendo’s GameCube ranked fourth with 5.8 percent.

Nielsen GamePlay Metrics has started tracking video game activity using data from Niel-sen’s existing sample of TV viewers. Nielsen Co.’s sample includes more than 12,000 U.S. households with about 33,000 individuals.

Nielsen also found that households that own the Nintendo Wii are more likely to earn more than $100,000 a year. And summer break has meant kids play video games later: in April, the Wii’s peak usage hour was 5 p.m., during the summer, it’s at 8 p.m.

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